Should You Stitch-Fix?

September 23, 2016

My first “fix” was waiting for me on the porch one day in late-June: a darling little parcel no bigger than a globe. I tore it open like a kid on Christmas morning, eager to see the contents inside. I pulled a coral tank with a tie at the neck, aqua stitching emblazoned across the bodice. There were shoes — strappy wedge sandals — and two dresses, one dotted with tiny, colorful sailboats.

“Cute!” I said, my baby pawing her hands inside the box. She pulled out the last item: a white linen tunic with ruffled sleeves. I kept everything.

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If you haven’t heard of it already, Stitch Fix is a mail-order fashion service that assigns you a personal stylist to hand-pick clothing just right for your body and style. You don’t pay anything upfront; after filling out a lengthy questionnaire about your preferences, style and body type, you schedule a shipment. Each “fix” is five pieces, and unless specified, can include shoes and accessories, like necklaces. You keep what you want, and send the rest back in a pre-posted returns bag. Your stylist also includes little cards with outfit possibilities using the pieces he or she sent along. When you keep all five items, you get 20 percent off your order, bringing the cost of the pieces down. (You also pick the price points, so there’s no $400 jeans in the mix!)

When my July fix arrived, I was thrilled with a canary yellow, sleeveless blouse with a tailored fit; I wore it all summer. I also loved a sleeveless coral-striped tank with a brocade panel in front and a similar blue tank with brocade on the back. Each piece cost about $38. A pair of mom jean shorts were on the insulting side, and the black and white striped pencil skirt didn’t suit my style. What was my stylist thinking? 

With another Stitch Fix shipment arriving tomorrow, here’s what works about Stitch Fix. It breaks you out of your habits.  I tend to buy clothes from the same two retailers, mostly because I’m lazy and I don’t have time to shop. Each shipment, on the other hand, pushed me to wear a color I may not have considered, like the canary yellow blouse, or a cut I may never have considered, like the sailboat dress with a drawstring neckline, which looked great on my small bustline. I also loved the element of surprise. As a mom, I spend a lot of time picking out clothes for other people; so it was nice not to have to choose anything and just react.

What I don’t like: When the stylist is off, she’s really off. My sister, who lives in Brooklyn, tried the service recently and sent back every item. “It was like they thought I was a motorcycle chick when everything in my questionnaire pointed to boho-chic!” she said. And my last shipment? I sent back every item. There were these horrible black wedge slippers in faux snakeskin, which looked cheap, and all of the shirts were big and clumsy.

So should you Stitch Fix? I say yes. Just for the fun of it. Maybe you find a piece you like, maybe you don’t. But at the very least, you’ll love finding that little package on your doorstep and seeing what’s inside.

What’s New With the Flu

Scarsdale Medical Group physician Dr. David Goldberg fills us in.

September 21, 2016

This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group

Last year, we worked with Scarsdale Medical Group’s pediatrician, Dr. Amy Lief on the Facts of the Flu Vaccine. We recently checked in with Dr. David Goldberg, also of Scarsdale Medical Group, to see what’s new with the flu this year.

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What should parents know about this season’s flu?

We don’t know yet whether this year’s flu will be different in any significant way from the previous several years. Flu season doesn’t usually begin until December.
 
What’s new with this year’s flu vaccine? 
The main difference is that the CDC is no longer recommending the nasal flu vaccine for children. The CDC reviewed the data from the last several years and concluded that the nasal vaccine is less effective than the flu shot.

When can we expect the flu vaccine to become available this fall? 
 
The vaccine is available now. Any time between now and early November is a good time to receive the flu vaccine.
 
Any additional myths related to the flu and flu vaccine that we haven’t covered in the past? 
 
We can’t say often enough that the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. The flu vaccine may cause low grade fever and body aches, but this is a mild vaccine reaction, which is not the same as getting the flu.
 
Are there any precautions parents and their children should take if they are traveling to other parts of the country and world, since different strains are prevalent in different communities? 
 

No. The same flu vaccine is given all over the world.

Do you have more questions about the flu? Email us at info@weewestchester.com and we’ll do our best to get them answered by Dr. Goldberg. 

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Dr. Goldberg, pictured above, is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. He has a broad knowledge base within and outside the field of medicine, is extremely thorough in the care of his patients, and doesn’t hesitate to provide for all their needs.

The provision of high-quality, personalized health care to Westchester County and New York’s Hudson Valley region has been the mission of the Scarsdale Medical Group for more than 50 years. Their working philosophy of compassion, confidence, and commitment has enabled them to become known and respected by patients and peers throughout the tri-state area.

Scarsdale Medical Group, 259 Heathcote Road, Scarsdale; 914-723-8100

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50 Things to Do in Westchester This Fall

From pumpkin patches to autumn crafts, here's how to fall into fun this season.

September 19, 2016

Editor’s note: This post originally ran in the past, but we’ve updated all the events for Fall 2016

There’s something about the coming winter that makes you want to savor autumn. To me, fall is about spending every last second outdoors. Drum roll, please … here are 50 ways to spend your fall.

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1. Don’t just carve a pumpkin. How about using one of these funny face stencils? Or use paper doilies to make lace-like designs on your pumpkin!

2. Forget driving upstate. There’s spectacular fall foliage right in our backyards. Here’s another way to enjoy the leaves: A drive up Route 22 from Valhalla to Chappaqua.

3. Go camping with the kids in the beautiful Catskills, just two hours away. Fall is actually the best time to camp out — comfortable temps, no bugs, colorful scenery. And nearby Kaaterskill Falls is a great fall hike for older kids, leading to the largest waterfall in New York state.

4. Head to Ridge Hill’s Legoland for Ninjago Weekend on Sept. 24 and 25, or Brick-or-Treat every weekend in October.

5. Plan a getaway over Columbus Day weekend; here are our three best ideas.

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6. Go apple picking. Then check out these 50 different ways to use up all those apples.

7. Get the lemon blossom foot treatment at Oasis Spa in Dobbs Ferry. After sandal season, your feet deserve a little pampering.

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8. Spend an afternoon at a local fair, festival or carnival. Coming up: the Fieldhome Fall Festival in Cortlandt Manor (Sept. 24), Fall Carnival in Fleetwood (Sept. 28-Oct. 2), Columbus Day Carnival in Eastchester (Oct. 7) and Horse Show and County Fair in Peekskill (Oct. 8-9).

9. Watch Sesame Street Live at the Westchester County Center, Sept. 24 and 25.

10. Head into the city to tour the Cloisters, take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry or catch a show at the New Victory Theater. End the day with a chocolate dinner at Max Brenner.

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11. Put all those colorful leaves you’re collecting to good use by turning them into holiday table centerpieces.

12. Go back to school. Sign yourself up for painting or digital photography at the Pelham Arts Center, a writer’s class at the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center, a clay workshop at the Clay Arts Center, or whatever other creative pursuit you’ve been dying to try out.

13. Indulge in some silver dollar pumpkin pancakes.

14. Attend the Maker Faire when it sets up at the New York Hall of Science the weekend of Oct. 1 and 2. It’s an awesome family-friendly showcase of invention and creativity.

15. Date night? Head to La Panetière in Rye to savor the seasonal seven-course tasting menu for just $90. Or take a drop-in wine class together at the Westchester Wine School.

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16. Visit a Hudson Valley pumpkin patch in October. Take hundreds of picture, then go home with armfuls of pumpkins.

17. Scare the kids into fits of fun at the New York Botanical Garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden, running daily through October 30.

18. Grab breakfast at The Beehive in Armonk. Biggest portions ever.

19. Roll down a grassy hill at Storm King Art Center, in nearby New Windsor. It’s absolutely gorgeous in the fall.

20. Bring your little ones to Caramoor Center in Katonah on Friday, Oct. 28, to listen to some spooky but not-too-scary folktales from around the world. The event features audience participation, puppets and hot apple cider! Kids are encouraged to come in costume.

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21. Be amazed by the Blaze! More than 7,000 carved-out pumpkins lit up in the yard of a historic home — nothing says Halloween more.

22. Reserve a spot at Spoken Interludes, Westchester’s very own literary salon where bestselling writers read their works while you munch on Chutney Masala.

23. Walk the Hudson from a cliff top at Wave Hill in the Bronx. The leaf peeping and children’s art programs are the best.

24. Shop Chelsea Dry Goods in Hastings. You’ll love the selection of vintage-inspired toys, eco-chic home goods and fun odds and ends. Then, take the kids to the Hastings Library children’s room. While the kids read, stare out the windows at the river and exhale.

25. Roast marshmallows over the grill or fire pit with these nifty telescoping, rotating “sticks.” Then help your kids make s’mores and tell spooky stories (well, the G-rated version!).

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26. Build your own scarecrow at Scarsdale’s Greenburgh Nature Center on Oct. 16.

27. Roll up your sleeves, tie on an apron, and take our seven days, seven meals cooking challenge.

28. Bring your older ones for a spooky graveyard tour at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. With a lantern in hand, keep an eye out for the headless horseman.

29. Buy a few metallic Sharpies, collect some leaves at the park, and let your little ones doodle their favorite designs on. What a great idea, the Artful Parent!

30. Pick up autumn’s bounty at a farmers’ market nearest you. Our calendar is filled with options up and down the county.

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31. Throw a DIY Halloween party with these really nifty ideas.

32. After Halloween is over, use up your leftover candy in this creative way.

33. Organize a fall scavenger hunt in your backyard or at a local park. I love what U Create Crafts did, but really you could just draw a few things on a brown bag and send your kids out to find stuff.

34. Pick up an apple pie from Baked by Susan in Croton. Heaven on a fork.

35. Throw a sleep under for your kid and her closest friends — treat them to all the nighttime fun (PJs, popcorn, movie), but send the guests home before bedtime.

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36. Indulge in a grown-up grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe give your kids a couple of bites if they’re behaving.

37. Consider a trip to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk just for one of their amazing IMAX films. Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean opened this month.

38. Show your little ones how to use a compass. When they get lazy on the trail, bust yours out — suddenly, he or she is the inspired navigator.

39. Start planning your February break. The winter holidays will be over before you know it, and you’ll be itching to get out of the winter doldrums and over to a warmer locale.

40. Buy a Vitamix Blender. It has a heating feature that helps homemade soup cook in a snap.

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41. Take a bike ride with the kids, training wheels and all. Bike Sundays are running on the Bronx River Parkway through the end of September, and we’ve got easy bike routes for Thornwood and the North County Trailway.

42. Make your appointment to get your flu shot. Then make one for your kids.

43. Leaf peep from above on Walkway Over the Hudson, then spend the rest of the day at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. Their Imagination Playground is described as a “pop-up adventure playground” where kids can stack, move and maneuver a large set of giant blue blocks.

44. Donate $25 to the Food Bank of Westchester — it will put a Thanksgiving turkey on somebody else’s table.

45. Speaking of turkeys, pick up a fresh one at a Hudson Vally farm in November.

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46. Shuck corn, grind grain and participate in other fall farm chores at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, now through mid-November.

47. Start practicing your Thanksgiving sides. We’ve got three no-fail, make-ahead recipes!

48. Attend a hands-on kids’ workshop at Home Depot every first Saturday of the month. They use real tools and materials, and the workshop is completely free. This month: Build your own wooden fire truck with real wheels.

49. Try the lattes at hipster hangout Antoinette’s Patisserie in Hastings. The cafe is relaxed and the coffees are perfectly frothed.

50. Book a kid-friendly trail ride with Westchester Trail Rides in Croton and breathe in the crisp fall air from the top of your own horse. Enjoy the great outdoors before the cold sets in for good.

Sponsored: Looking to buy or sell your next home in Westchester County? Theresa Szuhany, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, can help you. Her finance background, knowledge of Westchester County (she’s a native and currently lives here with her family), and honest, genuine approach makes her a terrific partner who can help ease the stress of the buying or selling process. 

Nightstands For Small Spaces

September 16, 2016

I live in a small house and my master bedroom, while lovely, is definitely cozy. When we moved in five years ago, we bought a stylish bed and dresser I’d call modern-farmhouse style, but we never really settled on nightstands. We’ve been living with mismatched bedside tables we picked up at flea markets ever since.

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I don’t like furniture to be all matchy-matchy, but our existing nightstands are a bit too shabby chic — emphasis on the shabby.  So with my son back in school last week, I became hellbent on finding new bedside tables. Here’s the rub: We have only 20-inches on either side of our bed, and it’s hard to find nice bedside tables with such a small footprint. But I did, and since I already did the research, you don’t have to. Take a looky-loo.

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I was most excited to see that Restoration Hardware, whose furniture is clearly made for estate-sized rooms, has a new line of narrow nightstands that are exactly 20-inches wide. They share the beautiful silhouettes of their larger counterparts, but they’ll fit happily in smallish bedrooms. The St. James Extra Narrow Closed Nightstand (shown above) runs at a steep $925 — seems too much for a bedside table — but I loved the look of it.

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You can count on West Elm for small space solutions, and this mid-century style bedside table is stylish but functional. I like that the two drawers offer storage. Bonus: It’s also only 18-inches wide. On sale for $239 per nightstand.

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I didn’t really want a white bedside table — it doesn’t go particularly well with my antiqued, rustic wood headboard — but if it did, I would have purchased Pottery Barn‘s Lonny nightstand ($349). Stacking books and magazines on the two shelves while still having a drawer to keep things tidy is appealing. Plus, it feels modern, sleek and plenty chic.

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Serena and Lily’s Blake Raffia One-Drawer Nightstand‘s ($998) woven exterior makes it a versatile pick. I love the idea of putting my book down on the woven, beachy table at night.

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I’ve become obsessed with arrows as accents lately. I recently bought a small leather book simply because it had gold arrows displayed on the cover; I put it on my coffee table in my living room. So this World Market Gold and Glass Arley bedside table ($79) got my attention.

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How cute is the Elsie nightstand by PBTeen? It will inject a bit of Hollywood Regency glamour into your room. And the price is perfect, with the bedside tables priced at $239 each.

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Maine Cottage’s Addy Side Table With Shelf ($690) offers this simple, Shaker-style nightstand in over two dozen colors, everything from aqua (above) to fuchsia. It’s only 18-inches wide, and it offers a shelf. The shop has other small profile options, too, so it’s worth scrolling through.

Two Drive-Thru Starbucks!

September 14, 2016

Last April, we let you in on a little secret: There’s a drive-thru Starbucks in Dobbs Ferry. Well, over the summer, another drive-thru Starbucks opened up, this one in Hartsdale on Central Avenue. So next time you’re in the car and the baby falls asleep or you’re just too lazy to do the whole car seat unbuckling or you don’t want to get soaked in the rain, head over to the drive-thru for your iced caramel macchiato. There’s just something amazing about not having to get out.

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Editor’s note: Our apple picking guide has been updated for September 2016! Happy picking!

Apple picking season is upon us again, along with the perennial question, “Which orchard should we go to?” It’s a good question because all orchards are not created equal. Here are several Westchester-area orchards that offer very different picking experiences. Remember to always call ahead to check on availability, and keep in mind that most of the pumpkin patches at these places don’t open until October.

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Fishkill Farms
Every weekend through the end of October, Fishkill Farms will be hosting a Fall Harvest Festival, with live music, barbecue and hayrides, in addition to the 40-acres of apples for picking. All of the apples are organic or eco-certified, and the whole place is devoted to sustainable farming. What’s more, the views from this farm can’t be beat! There’s no better place to pick some apples, relax, and take in the crisp autumn air.

Varieties: Fuji, Gala, Jonamac, McIntosh, Spartan

Activities: Hayrides, farm animals, farm store, live music, barbecue and other hot foods for sale, pumpkin patch

Fishkill Farms, 9 Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell Junction, NY; 845-897-4377    

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Masker Orchard
If what you’re interested in is straight-up apple picking and lots of varieties to choose from, then Masker is your best bet. While the place does offer some other activities, the real attraction is the 200 acres of orchards. It’s so large that you’re encouraged to drive from section to section. Bring some sandwiches and a picnic blanket to spread right beneath an apple tree when it’s time to take a break from all that picking.

Varieties: Prime Red, Macintosh, Granny Smith, Cortland, Empire, Jonagold, McCowan, Red Delicious, Sparta, Ida Red, Rome, Mutsu, Golden Delicious, Smoothie, Surprise

Activities: Family-friendly haunted house, face painting, apple maze, pumpkin patch, farm store, hot food for sale

Masker Orchard, 45 Ball Road, Warwick, NY; 845-986-1058

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Lawrence Farms and Orchard
The best thing about Lawrence is that when you get tired of apple-picking, you can move onto other fruits and vegetables, including grapes, pears, peppers, eggplant, corn, broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips and beets. It’s actually a pretty amazing experience to pull a head of broccoli right from the plant! There’s also plenty of fun for the kids, including a play village designed to look like an old-fashioned New England town. This place is especially great for families with young children.

Varieties: Macintosh, Jonamac, Honey Crisp, Gala, Empire, Cortland, Macoun, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Mutsu, Jonagold, Staymen, Northern Spy, Fuji, Rome, Granny Smith

Activities: Play village, farm animals, horse-drawn carriage, hay bale maze, farm store, hot food for sale, pumpkin patch

Lawrence Farms Orchard, 306 Frozen Ridge Road, Newburgh, NY; 845-562-4268

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Stuart’s Farm
A six generation working farm in Somers — someone still lives in the original 1760 farmhouse — Stuart’s Farm is the oldest apple farm in Westchester County. The farm has more than 200 acres of orchards, featuring nine different varieties of apples. They also bake their own pies, scones, muffins, apple cider donuts and streusel. Don’t miss the barn: It sells cookies and fresh produce from the farm.

Varieties: Macouns, Honeycrisp, Jonamac, Gala, Macintosh, Cortlands, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Mutsu

Activities: Hayrides, pumpkin patch, fresh food and produce for sale

Stuart’s Farm, 62 Granite Springs Road, Granite Springs; 914-245-2784

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Outhouse Orchards
Located on 100 acres in North Salem, Outhouse Orchards is an apple picking paradise. Every time you think you’re done picking, you turn a corner on the farm and find another orchard. A hay ride costs extra but takes you on a 20-minute tour of the orchards, a pretty way to see the rolling hills of the farm and the changing colors.

Varieties: McIntosh, Cortland, Rhode Islands Greenings, Red Delicious, Rome, Baldwin

Activities: Corn maze, farm stand, pumpkin patch

Outhouse Orchards, 139 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem; 914-277-3188

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Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
Located on 66 acres in North Salem, Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard features a farm shop that sells homemade pies and cider donuts. Weekends during September and October are called “fall festivals” with live music, pony rides, food vendors (including their famous barbecue) and hay rides. Warning: On a busy Saturday, this place is a zoo, but it’s also a blast.

Varieties: Macintosh, Liberty, Ida Red, Mutso

Activities: Hayrides, farm animals, live music, hot food for sale, pumpkin patch, face painting, pony rides, bouncy castles

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard, 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem; 914-485-1210

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Wilkens Farm
After paying for your bag, take a hay ride out to the orchards. The orchard requires a 1/4 bushel minimum (11 pounds) for you to enter the pick-your-own apple orchards; it may sound like a lot but it fills up fast. Check out the Wilkens Farm apple availability calendar before you go. There’s also a farm shop selling strudel sticks, apple cider donuts and pies, all homemade on the premises.

Activities: Hayrides, farm store

Varieties: Gala, Macintosh, Baldwin, Cortland, Macon, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Crispin, Empire, Winesap, Fuji, Ida Red

Wilken Farm, 1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights; 914-245-5111

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Dr. Davies Farm
Just over the Tappan Zee Bridge, about 30 minutes from White Plains, Dr. Davies is another regional favorite, just a stone’s throw from Westchester County. There are 4,000 apples trees on the property so you won’t have a problem finding apples. Dr. Davies presses their own cider, which you can sample at the farm stand, and there is a market selling everything from pumpkins to fresh veggies. A hayride takes you to the pumpkin patch on the weekends.

Activities: Tractors, hayrides, pumpkin patch

Varieties: Macintosh, Cortland, Crispin, Golden Delicious,and Empire

Dr. Davies Farm, 306 Route 304, Congers; 845-268-7020

Imagine being able to help low birth-weight babies and other newborns in need at hospitals by donating your unused milk. Thanks to the very first milk bank in New York, opening in Hastings this month, you can. (And while it’s certainly an atypical donation, many consider it an important one.)

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New York Milk Bank Director Julie Bouchet-Horwitz points out that many mothers have excess milk just sitting in their freezers that could very easily be donated via mail or dropped off at the milk bank or any milk depot. If you’re one of these moms and would like to become a donor, call 212-956-6455 to start the screening process, or learn more about it at the New York Milk Bank website. Donors must go through a screening process, and all the milk is pasteurized and processed on site, at the new state-of-the-art facility.

If you’re a mom in need of donor breast milk at home, it can be purchased directly from the milk bank if you have a prescription, which would come from your pediatrician. Donor milk is about $4.50 an ounce and the cost isn’t currently covered by insurance. (New York Milk Bank is a nonprofit organization, but there is a cost to processing the milk and keeping the facility running.)

New York Milk Bank, 185 Old Broadway, Hastings-On-Hudson; 212-956-6455

This may sound strange, but there’s a part of me that is outright obsessed with giving my son lots of opportunities to fall in love with the theater. Experiencing a great show is like reading a great novel — if it sucks you in, you never want the story to end. You’re forced to step outside of yourself, and maybe even learn something deep about the human experience.

Now I can’t promise that the fall/winter plays at the New Victory Theater will be that enlightening for your kids, but with their incredible line-up of shows, you can introduce your kids to a variety of performance art, some hailing from around the globe.

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There’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (for kids 8+) at the end of this month, with its promise of deep-sea adventure, and then several performances of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, a comedic tale of a family who opens their home to penguins (for 4 to 7 year olds). But I’m most excited about Chotto Desh, a story of one boy’s journey to become a dancer, that’s told with beautiful visual effects. Think: colorful projections of animals on the walls, while a troop of contemporary dancers flit about. Mother Africa, a circus spectacular set in Capetown with holiday themes, features an energetic display of acrobatics, fancy footwork and live music. There are even shows for kids under 5, so the littlest theater goers aren’t left out.

The New Victory Theater, located in Times Square, is the only theater company in the city devoted only to children’s theater, and there are about a dozen shows to choose from. (They’re great starter shows if you’re working up to Broadway!) Check out their entire lineup. *Not to be missed!*

Ice cream sundaes are a pretty awesome treat, but the first week of school calls for something extra special. Enter the donut sundae from Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream in Rye!

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This gooey delight, designed to make your pediatric dentist throw up his hands in defeat, consists of a scoop of ice cream over a glazed donut, drenched in a wet topping of your choice and finished with a dry topping. It’s crazy sweet, as you can imagine, but the look on your child’s face when they dig in will be priceless. Just make sure to brush thoroughly when you get home!

Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream, 4 Elm Place, Rye; 914-967-3797

Hey, summer only ends if you let it. I’m going to try to keep that carefree, warm-weather vibe with me in the coming weeks — as my kids start school, as the nights turn cooler, as I harvest the last of my garden. The way I see it is: The weather may change, but that laid-back attitude doesn’t have to. Happy Labor Day everyone!

ps. loving this quote right now.

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International Children’s Film Festival This Weekend

And it's in Westchester.

September 2, 2016

Ever feel like all the coolest stuff always happens in the city? Not so! The Pelham Picture House is sponsoring the second annual Westchester International Children’s Film Festival this weekend, and the line-up is intriguing. Think: Movies for 3-year-olds. Yep. Tweens? Def. Teens. For sure.

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It will kick off on Friday, Sept. 2 (today!), with the award-winning April and the Extraordinary World, a French mystery/sci-fi animated film about a teen, accompanied by a talking cat, searching for her missing parents in 1941 Paris (7pm on Friday). Kid Flix offers a selection of highly-rated short films for the 3- to 7-year-old set (with show times on each day of the festival). Then there’s a John Hughes celebration of films at 9pm each night for grown-ups: screenings of The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 16 Candles and Pretty in Pink. Check out the full schedule — and sample some arts-based classes for kids — at the WICFF site.

Zika-Free February Break Ideas For Sun-Seekers

It's far away, but the mosquitos have us thinking. 

August 31, 2016

With everyone home from summer break and thinking forward, there’s a new conversation making the rounds: what to do in February. With the Zika virus making landfall in the Caribbean, Mexico and even south Florida, it’s a strange time to be planning a trip there. Even if you’re not pregnant. There are some rare but scary symptoms of Zika. But I’ll let you read more about the virus and how it spreads here.
If you’re feeling jittery about heading to some of the above locales with kids, here are a few alternatives for sun seekers. (None of these places have Zika infection from local mosquitoes, just travel-related infection.)

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Scottsdale, Arizona
There are enough gorgeous spas and resorts (think: amazing pools!) in this stretch of desert, like the Phoenician Resort, to rejuvenate any family. Hike Camelback Mountain, take a day trip to Sedona, with its natural hot springs, and go eat real-deal Mexican food in Tucson. The weather is often in the high 60s/low 70s that time of year. Not Caribbean warm, but warm enough to get a rosy glow on your vacation.

marina del rey bike ride
Santa Monica, California 
It’s the perfect beach town from which to explore L.A. Check in to Shutters on the Beach (where we recently spotted Adam Sandler and his young kids) and leave your room every morning to run the boardwalk along the ocean. (There’s also the coolest playground, with extra long swings for grown ups!) Rent bikes at the Santa Monica Bike Center, which has dozens of kid-friendly options, and bike all the way to Marina Del Ray. If you go, don’t miss Dogtown Coffee, where locals in board shorts and backpacks hop off their skateboards for their morning fix.

lewis barbecue charleston
Charleston, South Carolina + Savannah, Georgia
There’s a reason why Charleston is often named one of the best cities for a vacation: it’s gorgeous. With myriad beaches and a foodie-centric downtown, you may start considering a move south. About two hours away is Savannah — another charming southern city steeped in history, with gorgeous town squares and parks aplenty. The weather could be in the 70s or it may be in the 50s, but at least you can ditch your coat for your lightweight fleece. (Nearby is Amelia Island, Florida, where there happens to be an amazing Ritz-Carlton. Pitstop? Yes, please.)

First Day of School Photo Ideas

August 30, 2016
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Editor’s note: This post first ran in the past, but it was so popular we thought we’d bring it back as an oldie but goody! My mom still has the photo of me getting on the bus for kindergarten in 1980, blond pig tails and all! Whether your child is heading off to the 2’s in a preschool […]

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Breakfast Ice Pops? Yes, Please!

August 29, 2016

You had me at “breakfast ice pops.” That was what my kids’ faces said when I announced what we’d be eating for breakfast tomorrow and told them we’d be whipping up a batch together. I got the idea from the Little Global Chefs website, and it really is ingenious — a popsicle with all sorts of […]

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Tips for a Healthy Back to School Season

August 26, 2016

This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.  It’s officially back-to-school season, which means spending more time with school friends, back to routines & schedules and inevitably, sharing germs in closer indoor spaces. We worked with Scarsdale Medical Group’s Pediatrician, Dr. Amy Lief, to answer your questions about children’s health and how to have […]

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Sponsored Post: Ensure a Safe Summer of Driving for Your Teen

August 24, 2016

This post was brought to you by Advocate Brokerage. All parents want their kids to have a fun, safe summer but it is also the most dangerous time of year for teens on the road.  As an insurance advocate, Advocate Brokerage wants to provide as much information as possible so that fellow parents can educate their kids […]

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